Correct Lawmaker’s Claim that Bicyclists Are a Major Source of Air Pollution

Target: Representative Ed Orcutt

GoalDemand a correction of Representative Orcutt’s claims that bicyclists are a significant source of carbon dioxide pollution

A Republican state congressman from Washington state has claimed that bicyclists are a significant source of carbon dioxide pollution, even going as far as to say that they produce the equivalent to the carbon dioxide pollution of a car. The Washington Legislature is considering a tax on bikes as part of a larger transportation bill.

When a constituent emailed the representative about the wisdom of such a tax, he responded by claiming that because a cyclist has an increased respiration rate while riding, he or she is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. He also claimed that these emissions are equivalent to those produced by an automobile, although this is demonstrably false.

He has publicly commented that he stands by his support for the bicycle tax on the grounds that because cyclists do not pay gas taxes they do not fund the maintenance of roads. However, gas taxes only pay for 25% of the roads budget in Washington. The rest comes from regular taxes.

Ed Orcutt’s comments about bicyclists are not only obviously incorrect, they are detrimental to the environment. If a tax were passed on bikes, fewer people in Washington would use them for transportation despite the fact that bicycles are one of the most environmentally-friendly forms of transportation in existence.

Sign the petition below to demand that Representative Orcutt retract his statements and withdraw his support for a bike tax.


Dear Representative Ed Orcutt,

Your recent comments in an email to one of your constituents that cyclists are a significant source of air pollutants are simply untrue. Although respiration does generate a certain amount of carbon dioxide, it is negligible compared to that produced by an automobile. However, you claimed that bicyclists produce more air pollution than do the drivers of cars. This is a false claim.

Please publicly retract these comments, as they are misleading to the public you represent. Bicycles are one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel, and you have a duty to acknowledge the truth of this fact in public.

I am also writing to ask you to withdraw your support for a bike tax contained in the transportation bill being considered by your legislature. Taxing bicycles would have a negative impact on the environment of Washington and the rest of the world, because discouraging people from using bicycles may cause them to use dirtier forms of transport, like cars. Please tell the truth—bicycles are a clean form of transport.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Skeezix1000 via Wikimedia

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